A Summary of In Vitro and In Vivo Studies Evaluating the Impact of E-Cigarette Exposure on Living Organisms and the Environment

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jan 19;21(2):652. doi: 10.3390/ijms21020652.


Worldwide use of electronic cigarettes has been rapidly expanding over recent years, but the long-term effect of e-cigarette vapor exposure on human health and environment is not well established; however, its mechanism of action entails the production of reactive oxygen species and trace metals, and the exacerbation of inflammation, which are associated with potential cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. The present study examines the effects of selected liquid chemicals used in e-cigarettes, such as propylene glycol/vegetable glycerin, nicotine and flavorings, on living organisms; the data collected indicates that exposure to e-cigarette liquid has potentially detrimental effects on cells in vitro, and on animals and humans in vivo. While e-liquid exposure can adversely influence the physiology of living organisms, vaping is recommended as an alternative for tobacco smoking. The study also compares the impact of e-cigarette liquid exposure and traditional cigarette smoke on organisms and the environmental impact. The environmental influence of e-cigarette use is closely connected with the emission of airborne particulate matter, suggesting the possibility of passive smoking. The obtained data provides an insight into the impact of nicotine delivery systems on living organisms and the environment.

Keywords: e-cigarettes; e-liquid; inflammation; lung pathologies; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems
  • Flavoring Agents / adverse effects
  • Flavoring Agents / chemistry
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Smoke / adverse effects*
  • Vaping / adverse effects*
  • Vaping / metabolism


  • Flavoring Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Smoke
  • Nicotine